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Tag: secrecy

Homeland Security Is Shedding Air Marshal Jobs Because of Deep Budget Cuts

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Budget cuts have forced Homeland Security to reduce the number of Federal Air Marshals whose job is to protect aircrafts from terrorists, CNN reports, citing internal emails.

The department declined to say how many marshals the department has lost in the past three years.

Critics blasted the department for its secrecy surrounding the issue.

It’s believed that the agency had about 3,500 air marshals about two years ago.

Air Marshal Director Robert Bray said the agency’s budget has been slashed from $966 to $806 million over the past three years.

FBI Planted Informant Inside WikiLeaks for Information on the Secret-Revealing Group

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

An Icelandic man is the first known FBI informant inside WikiLeaks, a secret-revealing website.

Wired.com reports that Sigurdur “Siggi” Thordarson was an informant for three months in 2011 when he worked for WikiLeaks and the FBI. Ticklethewire.com mistakenly printed that Julian Paul Assange was the informant.

He reportedly received $5,000 for his undercover work.

“It’s a sign that the FBI views WikiLeaks as a suspected criminal organization rather than a news organization,” says Stephen Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy. “WikiLeaks was something new, so I think the FBI had to make a choice at some point as to how to evaluate it: Is this The New York Times, or is this something else? And they clearly decided it was something else.”

Column: How the Patriot Act Stripped Me of My Free-Speech Rights

By Nicholas Merrill
Washington Post

Sometime in 2012, I will begin the ninth year of my life under an FBI gag order, which began when I received what is known as a national security letter at the small Internet service provider I owned. On that day in 2004 (the exact date is redacted from court papers, so I can’t reveal it), an FBI agent came to my office and handed me a letter. It demanded that I turn over information about one of my clients and forbade me from telling “any person” that the government had approached me.

National security letters are issued by the FBI, not a judge, to obtain phone, computer, and banking information. Instead of complying, I spoke with a lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union and filed a constitutional challenge against the NSL provision of the Patriot Act, which was signed into law 10 years ago Wednesday.

A decade later, much of the government’s surveillance policy remains shrouded in secrecy, making it impossible for the American public to engage in a meaningful debate on the effectiveness or wisdom of various practices.

To read full column click here.

Obama Admin Insists It Has No Obligation to Provide Secret Info in Wiretap Case

top-secretThe Obama administration, which has been advocating transparency in general, is advocating secrecy in this instance. Let’s see what happens here.

By The Associated Press
Washington – The Obama administration insists it has no obligation to provide access to a top secret document in a wiretapping case, setting up a showdown next week with the judge who ordered it released.

Justice Department lawyers, in a response filed Friday with the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, also argued that Judge Vaughn Walker had no cause to penalize the government for its refusal to turn over the document.

Walker on May 22 threatened to punish the administration for withholding the document, which he ordered given to lawyers suing the government over its warrantless wiretapping program.

For Full Story